Sell Everything and Buy Wisdom
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care.The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. —Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
I’m sure some of those reading these verses are like, “What? Ecclesiastes? I thought this book was something I’d catch up on if I stepped on a rusty nail!” You’ve got to feel bad for Ecclesiastes, right? It’s only 12 chapters long and is often overlooked. Its big brother Proverbs gets all the attention. And then there’s Song of Solomon. How do you even compete with that? So get this: Ecclesiastes is a 3,000-year-old document, yet it’s as relevant now as it was then. We’re going to look at what God communicates through Solomon. But first, we have to know a little about this book to understand where Solomon is coming from.
This book Solomon wrote is pretty rough and tough. Think Dirty Harry. It will, as my dad used to say, put hair on your chest. If you recall, when Solomon took over the throne from his father David, God gave him one wish. Did he ask for wealth, a magic carpet, or power? No, Solomon started out well by asking for wisdom to lead God’s people, the Israelites. With that one request, God not only gave him supernatural wisdom, but also supernatural discernment, supernatural knowledge, and then on top of all that, God gave him riches and honor so that no other king would ever compare to him.
What does all that mean? Solomon had more of everything than you or I will ever have. Think about that for a minute. Imagine being able to pursue everything you ever wanted with all the riches and power you could ever need. What would that even be like?
How did it turn out for Solomon? Not great. Solomon’s reign ended in tragedy. He departed from God’s ways and worshiped false gods brought into his life by the myriad of women he married or added to his harem. In fact, if Ecclesiastes wasn’t here, we’d be left wondering if Solomon ever repented or learned anything at all.
Ecclesiastes is in fact a book of repentance. The day when Solomon’s crazy escapades no longer held their allure, when he finally came to his senses as an old man, he sat down with a pen and paper and wrote about all he had learned in the wild life he had lived. When you look at verses nine and ten above, what Solomon is saying, (what God is saying through Solomon), is “Don’t do what I just did. Do this instead.”
- How can I evaluate the value I place on wisdom?
- Where is my source of wisdom?
Prayer: Dear Father, I am so thankful that You would allow Solomon to live the life he did so I can learn from his example and not personal mistakes. Many times I have chased dreams that were not good for me, only to find that You had Solomon tell me that very truth in the book of Ecclesiastes. Help me to desire Your wisdom above all else. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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